JOHOR BAHRU: A Johor state task force looking into the Causeway congestion issue has proposed setting up a single government agency to manage the operations at the checkpoint.
This was among the list of 11 recommendations from the task force headed by Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen.
According to a New Straits Times report on Monday (Jan 21), Chen said there are currently too many government agencies involved in the operations of the Sultan Iskandar customs, immigration and quarantine complex in Johor Bahru.
"There are 23 departments and agencies operating at the complex at the moment, and each would report to their own respective superiors. This would make it difficult to implement any changes as each department and agency has their own instructions," said the assemblyman.
Malaysia should take the lead from Singapore, where the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is responsible for all matters regarding the checkpoints, he added.
"With a single agency, we will be able to reduce bureaucracy in the border administration and improve response time whenever there is any problem," Chen was reported as saying by the New Straits Times.
The Causeway congestion task force was set up by the Johor government in July last year to look into problems affecting the checkpoint.
There is a separate task force looking into congestion issues at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.
Beside the setting up of a single agency, the Causeway task force also recommended that the number of Immigration Department personnel should be increased during peak hours, as well as consulting Singapore on increasing the frequency of the Johor Bahru-Woodlands train service.
The task force also called for the Rapid Transport System (RTS) link to be constructed, among other recommendations.
The RTS project, which links Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru and Woodlands North station in Singapore, is scheduled for completion by 2024.
TASK FORCE REPORT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO RELEVANT AGENCIES
Chen said his task force took about four months to complete the report, which was submitted to the relevant ministries and agencies earlier this month.
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has also received a copy of the report, he said.
“(Muhyiddin) told me that he would look at the proposals and, if suitable, will try to implement them as quickly as possible," said the assemblyman.
Heavy congestion at the Causeway was in the spotlight last month. This was compounded by a bomb hoax, car breakdowns and rampant queue cutting, according to ICA.
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said ninety per cent of ICA officers were on duty and about 500 officers worked overtime last month to manage the high volume of traffic flow at the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints during the Christmas holidays.